which seeds should store in fridge & which at room temp?

tumblingtomatoesJanuary 10, 2009

Hi everyone, I just posted this message in the seed saving forum as well, hoping to get some good info from either one.....

Still new at this so I have some questions: which seeds should be stored in the fridge & which should be stored at room temp? I have peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cukes, melons, some herbs, lettuces, chard, broccoli rabe & several flowers seeds:

Nigella, agastache, carnations, sunflowers, baby breath, love lies bleeding, cosmos, marigolds, violas, snap dragons, poppies, blue flax & some others.

I want the seeds to last longest while still being viable.

What's the best way to store them?


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I can only speak for vegetable seeds. Humidity is too high in a refrigerator. Mold becomes a problem with any long term storage. On the other hand, the freezer is great for long term storage. Most vegetables, but there are exceptions, are good for several years stored at room temps.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 10:39AM
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Dry and cool is the key to seed storing. Humidity and warmth will shorten a seed's viability. The refrigerator (away from the freezer) is a good place to store seed if you control humidity. Keep seed packets in a plastic storage bag or Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid--a gasketed lid. Here's how to keep the seed dry: wrap a couple of tablespoons of powdered milk in a few layers of facial tissue then put the milk inside the storage container with the seed packets (or you can use a packet of silica gel). Replace the powdered milk (which absorbs humidity--water) every 6 months. Most vegetable seed will remain viable for 3 years. Label the seed packet if a date is not on the packet. When you are ready to use the seed allow it to warm to room temperature. Otherwise, moisture in the air will condense on the seed and it will clump together. Any seed that goes in a freezer must be thoroughly dried--otherwise the moisture in the seed will expand and burst the seed cover.

Here is a link that might be useful: HarvestToTable.com

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:08AM
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Thanks for the info, thanks very much!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 11:45AM
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1. Buy fresh seed whenever available.
2. Place in airtight container. Seed must be dry.
3. Place container in freezer.
4. When you need seed, remove container from freezer. To prevent condensation, do not open until contents are near room temperature (about 30 minutes).
5. Remove seeds that you are going to use. Close container and place back in freezer.

Seed will remain viable 20 years or more. I'm still using seeds that I bought in the 70's.

You must not freeze seeds that cannot be dried. For example, maple, oak, chestnut, many tropicals.

To dry seeds, place them in an open container, such as a bowl, and keep them indoors in a well-ventilated place at room temperature for about two weeks. If there is a lot of seeds, it may take longer. Stir the seeds occasionally to make them dry uniformly. Watch out for critters munching on the seeds.

If you know you're going to use the seeds within a year or so, you can follow stephen albert's method and use the fridge. I just use the freezer for everything.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2009 at 7:07PM
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I've been storing all my seeds in the regular part of the fridge for years. I keep them simply in either plastic bags or tuperware and most remain viable for years. Onions may be the only exception, but even some of these are a few years old and still germinate well enough. I dont have problems with humidity, but then this is a very dry area.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 10:23PM
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For controlling humidity you can get silica gel packs to put in with your seeds. I got a couple from ebay that are metal encased and have indicators which turn from blue to pink when they need to be "recharged". Just pop them in the oven at 250F for an hour and that dries them out and they're ready to go again. I keep my seeds in card-filing boxes placed inside a plastic trash bag to seal moisture out. The silica lasts a very long time under these conditions. Putting them in the fridge would help a great deal, but I don't have the room there so I just keep them in the coolest place I have available, which is the garden shed right now.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:24AM
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Everything in the freezer except garlic and potatoes. A ziploc bag will suffice. That is why freezers have those little shelves in the back of the door. I am still using cabbage seeds from 2000. I also save pole bean, radicchio, and parsnip seeds, but if you wait for a sunny stretch before picking mature heads, they will be ready for immediate freezing.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 11:50AM
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